The concept of creating "buzz" for your brand, in order to get the attention of consumers and the media alike, is suddenly a popular one. With the talented new player—social media—on the multichannel team, direct marketers now have more opportunities to generate buzz as well as revenue.
Mark Hughes, author of "Buzzmarketing: Get People to Talk About Your Stuff," spoke recently to members of the Philadelphia Direct Marketing Association about how to get people talking about your brand or company, and also how such activity can lead to significant profit. Having grown eBay's Half.com from zero to 8 million online customers in less than three years, Hughes had a lot to say about how to make "buzzmarketing" work for the average company.
Some of his key ways to get the buzz going:
1. Put the Story Before the Brand
According to Hughes, creating buzz must begin with a great story that makes the brand or company fascinating or interesting. He emphasized that this story must precede the specific brand marketing. When less than a quarter of people believe advertising claims but almost three out of four consumers trust the online opinions of strangers, Hughes asserted that brands must create discussions and enable content that is six times more powerful than traditional advertising.
2. Push Their Buttons
Partly because of the Internet, people talk and hunt for the unusual, the outrageous, the taboo, the hilarious, the remarkable and what's secret more than ever before. Even traditional news organizations have to run such content in order to compete. Hughes says that if you know what people are talking about, then find a way to weave your brand into that story and get people talking about your brand.
3. Tell the Stories People Want to Hear
Hughes advocates for what people are writing about and reading about today. The triumph-over-adversity and David & Goliath stories will always work. Meanwhile, the celebrity-filled, outrageous and controversial, media-magnet stories can all work just as well. Rather than creating clutter, however, the aim should be to generate word-of-mouth that results in undivided attention. Part of that will hinge on showing personality rather than slick, corporate-sponsored stories.
4. Police Your Product
As Hughes declared, 23 written complaints can create 10,000 enemies. Many customers will not complain directly to the company, but won't hesitate to complain to others on the Internet. He urges marketers to listen carefully and respond proactively to any customers who are not satisfied.